Thursday, April 09, 2009

LETTER: Peace and love at Easter

My hands are still smelling of disinfectant. I spent around 20 minutes washing feet at a church in Ashfield. Bill Crews' hands are probably also still smelling, as are the hands of two Buddhist monks from Strathfield. Each year, on the Thursday before easter, we get together at his church to wash the feet of those who have fallen on hard times. These days, the number of such people has increased dramatically.

Bill Crews is carrying on the tradition of Christ, who washed the feet of his disciples. In feeding the poor and homeless, Crews is carrying on the tradition of Muslim scholars and sufis such as the late Shaykh Muinuddin Chishti, not to mention the work of numerous Buddhist denominations.

Easter is a time when Christians celebrate a loving God who (Christians believe) gave His son to die on the cross and then be resurrected. Muslims and Buddhists don't share the letter of these beliefs, but certainly share their basic spirit. So do other faiths such as Sikhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism.

Another thing all faith-communities have in common is that we're not monoliths. There are lots of different types of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews etc. Those who choose to show hatred and discord try to ignore this variety, to dehumanise believers and to present denominations as monolithically evil. Prejudice is built on the foundational myth of the monolith.

I wrote about the phenomenon of prejudice in a recent article for the Sydney Morning Herald. Here's an excerpt:

On the ABC's Q&A program on Thursday, columnist Andrew Bolt spoke of "a rejectionist strand" that made Muslim immigration experience different to the experiences of Greek and Italian migrants. Again, the underlying assumptions are based on ignorance. To speak of a recent singular wave of Muslim migration is to engage in historical revisionism. Virtually all waves of migration incorporated an element of Muslims, including Europeans from Albania and the former Yugoslavia .

Some Muslims came as refugees, others as skilled or business migrants. Some have hardly been out of an immigration detention centre for a few years. Others are descended from Afghan cameleers who married indigenous women in the 19th century.

Yet, for some reason, Australian Muslims are treated as some kind of monolith. We hear pundits and self-serving religious leaders speak of a mythical entity called the "Muslim community". The idea that Muslims define themselves primarily by their religion sounds ridiculous when one considers that membership of the Lebanese Moslems Association is limited to adult males eligible for Lebanese citizenship. Yet what happens at this Lakemba mosque is somehow a reflection of 300,000-odd Australians who feel inclined to tick the "Muslim" box on their census forms.
One reader named "The Spectator ' decided to type up a letter and send it to the Sydney Morning Herald who forwarded it onto me. I thought I would share it with readers as it is relevant to this blessed time and to the issues raised in my Herald article. I've made some slight adjustments to the text.

April 3 3009-04-03


Why do you think there is a phobia against you second class citizens? I will give you a few hints moronic uneducated imbecile.

The formation of a Middle eastern Crime Unit...why would this be. ?

The constant flow of Middle eastern names that crop up each time there is and arrest

The Shabby Sheiks mosque performance calling the police

The drug trade and bikies awash with these low lifes like you.

Car rebirthing,ATM raids, drugs, rapes ( Whats a fine bunch the Skafs were )

In your article you mentioned the Greels and Italian migration...big difference ...these people came to this country to work, and work they did...not bring their criminal ways and mentality to disrupt and corrupt a country that opened their doors and took them in from their war torn peasant backgrounds. You breed like flies and live like the pigs that you are.

I would suggest you and your criminal mates ( Adam Houda, another prime example) piss off back to where you came are persona non grata and not welcome here. You are parasites and leeches on Australian society

Maybe Fred Nile is right. His concerns when low lifes like you and your Muslim mates want t change the way we live in are a danger to the freedom and democracy of this mighty country that our forebearers fought and died for .

"The Spectator '
I wish all my friends a happy easter. That includes "The Spectator '.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

Bookmark this on Delicious


Get Flocked

Stumble Upon Toolbar

1 comment:

David M Jacobs said...

Australia, to paraphrase Kahlil Gibran, dwells in the house of tomorrow... for life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. "The Spectator" and his friends—too craven to use their real names—don't own this country as they think they do; they merely borrow it against future generations. What poor custodians they are.

Who were the drug lords and violent ethnic gangs of our past? The Vietnamese, the Italians, the Chinese, the Anglo-Irish Catholics who now make up a quarter of our population.

Yes, there are a lot of "Middle Eastern" names in crime reports these days but in time, this will change, as new faces appear on which to hang old bigotries. Refugees of new wars will arrive to replace the old, who will quietly settle into peaceful, comfortable, boring lives as members of the Australian community.

You do a good thing, Irfan. Best of luck with the book—I'll keep my eye out for a copy.